Beginning my term as DIG Chair, my first job is to find my replacement. Many of you have demonstrated strong leadership and accomplishment in the field of design and education. If this describes you, consider reaching out to show your interest in becoming our Chair-Elect. The position’s responsibilities are reasonable, and working with our leadership team has proven very fun and rewarding. Serving during the Delegates Assembly connects the Chair to a large population of our state leaders and allows them a voice in guiding the NAEA organization. You can be assured that you will grow and find real fulfillment as you complete your term.
STATE COUNCIL CHAIRS
Several of our members have created positions and volunteered to serve as DIG chairs on their state association councils. Illinois’s Past President, Nick Hostert, wrote to me about their initiative in 2020. He related that: at our board leadership meeting in which we set goals and strategic planning for the year, there was a consensus [that] we needed do a better job of connecting educators with design and media arts learning opportunities and resources.… We have a lot of talented design and media educators in our state and we offer PD in these areas, but we determined to develop an interest group (technically a committee, according to our bylaws) in order to give educators in our state a more specific sub-group for PLCs/PLTs that they could continue to connect with for better collaboration and resource sharing. Essentially, we carved out a specific home for these educators.
Their DIG is chaired by Matt Winkelman and Kristen LaJeunesse-Roach, who began their design thinking journey at NAEA’s SummerStudio: Design Thinking event created by this national DIG. Together, the pair are revolutionizing their district’s curriculum by creating an art and design program that, according to Matt, provides students with the opportunity to learn and apply even more design skills, principles and the design thinking process, earn Adobe certifications and make real-world connections through community partnerships and projects that have the potential to lead to internships and dual credit.
They will pilot some of the planned student opportunities this year. Since learning about this, others have initiated a DIG in their states. Hopefully, this is the start of a chain reaction that continues across the country. Consider starting a DIG in your state!
Before schools returned to face-to-face instruction, DIG leadership felt that we could use one more virtual event to reconnect and learn together. That’s when our Pop-Up Chat with Beth Burkhauser, director of the Hexagon Project, was launched. Beth’s presentation, “Backto- School: Gathering Design Ideas for Survival and Sustenance,” explored how a design thinking model could merge with a social justice mission.
The Hexagon Project offers unlimited ways to introduce the design thinking process at multiple levels, promote conversation, see commonalities, and explore meaningful topics. She gave an overview of how design is used by teachers to provide choice, intrinsic motivation, and problem solving within the user-friendly limitation of a hexagonal template. The hexagon becomes a platform—or multiple platforms—for reflection, deeper awareness, and problem solving. The participants learned and discussed how this project could be promoted and used by teachers who wish to include more student-centered problems into the design process. She welcomes your ideas and experience and invites you to take advantage of this alternative design thinking resource as you connect. https://hexagonproject.org/
The Design Interest Group hosted its final two monthly StudioChats, completing the group’s year-long commitment to providing quality professional development in design during the pandemic. The intent of StudioChat was to introduce art educators to designers throughout the industry, inspire them, and help them make connections to and for their classrooms.
In April, Linda Keane revealed how e-learning journeys support curiosity and compassion in the exploration of the world. As professor of architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Linda founded three interdisciplinary programs in architecture. Her firm, STUDIO 1032, works on green initiatives along the Milwaukee–Chicago corridor.
In May, David Shipman explained how we might anticipate transformative changes as we prepare our next generation of creative problem solvers so they might prosper and thrive. Dave was a design principal of the Steelcase Design Group with more than 30 patents for work-based products. He directed the design of custom products for clients like Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Goldman-Sachs, TED, Mercedes-Benz, and others.
The 12 StudioChats were an excellent way to build community and stay connected while we could not be together safely. The chats were consistently well attended and highly reviewed. The facilitators will now resume planning for their regularly scheduled annual event, SummerStudio: Design Thinking through this next year. We look forward to meeting with all of you face-to-face in the summer of 2022 for a week-long interactive event!
DIG has transitioned its leadership, and Cindy Todd is now serving as Chair. Cindy is the art education program chair at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a key designer of the Grand Rapids Public Museum School, a design thinking/place-based school that won a $10,000,000 XQ Super School grant. Cindy cofacilitated NAEA’s SummerStudio for 4 years and StudioChat this past year. She was named NAEA’s Art Educator of the Year and served as MAEA President and NAEA Regional Vice President. She received Michigan’s Art Educator of the Year award and NAEA’s Student Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence, and she presents keynote addresses across the country.
As Doris Wells-Papanek begins her term as DIG’s Past Chair, she is forever thankful for the insightful groundwork that has been laid over the past 4 years. From the perspective of a design practitioner, educator, and advocate, Doris will continue to support several key initiatives such as inviting our special keynote speakers to DIG’s annual gatherings, facilitating DIG’s Design-Thinking Learning Grants, and contributing to Delegates Assembly’s timely review of NAEA’s adopted Position Statement as an art and design association.
We want to give a hearty thank-you to Rande Blank as she completes her term as Past Chair. Rande was a fantastic advocate for design and was very instrumental in developing, planning, and facilitating both SummerStudio and StudioChat. Although her leadership has concluded, she is committed to DIG and plans to continue her involvement, and you will see her shine during SummerStudio in 2022
THE UNKNOWN, IGNITES UNFORESEEN INSIGHTS INTO THE FUTURE
On March 20, 2020, the unimaginable happened. Our NAEA Convention in Minneapolis was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual event that we all had tirelessly prepared for disappeared in what felt like moments. Over the past year, we have been challenged to support our art and design students via digital modes of interaction. This volatile road has not been easy by any means—a genuine test of our capacity as creative problem solvers to transform the negatives into positives. The following narrative is a synopsis of NAEA’s Design Interest Group’s setbacks, adventures, and insights into our design community’s future..
DIG DESIGN-THINKING GRANTS ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
As the lives of NAEA’s art and design educators changed, so did DIG’s Design-Thinking Learning Grants. To better support our award recipients, we transformed a year-long commitment into three types of submissions: (1) a 3-month mini-challenge as a lesson plan, (2) a 6-month project-based challenge as a unit of study, and (3) a year-long investigation or dissertation. Each grantee develops a learning framework, reflects on insights, aligns with Core Arts Standards, assesses the impact on student learning, and shares outcomes with NAEA members.
SUMMERSTUDIO AND STUDIOCHATS
DIG has spent nearly a year offering free monthly StudioChat webinars. This series has hosted prominent designers and educators, who teach us how to foster design competencies in the classroom. Tune in each first Tuesday of the month as we learn together and build community. See the DIG website for registration information. The leadership of DIG is in full agreement that we will resume offering our weeklong Summer- Studio Institute in 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We hope to partner again with Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids Public Museum School (an XQ Super School whose curriculum is rooted in design), Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler), Steelcase (the world’s largest office furniture company), and Crayola.
DIG'S ANNUAL GATHERING GOES VIRTUAL
Our virtual annual gathering and special keynote speaker captured the attention of more than 50 convention attendees. We shared business highlights and new and ongoing initiatives, announced upcoming leadership changes, honored our Outstanding Design Educator of the Year, and welcomed an extraordinary industrial designer—Tucker Viemeister. Tucker presented his incredible professional journey as well as countless insights into art and design education. After his lecture, he graciously engaged in a Q and A session with all of the attendees. Videos of the session recordings are posted on DIG’s website.
The convention traditionally marks the end of the 2-year leadership cycle. Because the Chair-Elect was an interim position for a short period of time, DIG will take a little more time to transition its leadership. Doris and Cindy will partner together as they begin to address the needs of NAEA’s new Strategic Vision, with the final transition happening within the next couple of months.
NAEA STRATEGIC VISION SETS THE STAGE FOR DIG'S FUTURE
In anticipation of the 2021–2025 Strategic Vision, DIG Leadership has developed five strategic initiatives. Now that design is embedded within the Vision Statement, we can proceed with (1) authoring a new position statement focused on design for 2022 Delegates Assembly, (2) supporting the inclusion of art and design during adopted position statement reviews, (3) clarifying the role of Interest Groups in Delegates Assembly, (4) aligning DIG’s constitution and bylaws with NAEA’s new vision, and (5) participating in Interest Group meetings with NAEA leadership.
FOUR COMPELLING DESIGN THINKING MINICHATS
Free Professional Development Sessions Supported and Facilitated by NAEA’s Design Interest Group and SummerStudio Faculty
On January 5, 2021, four of our StudioChat Facilitators welcomed participants to a unique open-invite Design Thinking MiniChat Sessions. In the 90-minute Zoom meeting, our participants chose to engage in two out of four informative MiniChat offerings. The purpose of these highly interactive sessions was to support multiple design thinking learning opportunities via small-group discussions, collaborations, interactions, and creative explorations. At the conclusion of the evening’s MiniChats, all participants gathered to wrap up in a whole group to discuss and unpack the highly interactive learning experiences.
CINDY TODD: Creating Rigorous Design Briefs
StudioChat Facilitator, NAEA DIG Chair-Elect, Program Chair of KCAD’s Art Education
Essential Question: How might we design creative problems in a way that builds dendrites and increases student engagement?
We explored rigorous design constraints and collaborative pathways to improve existing lesson plans and created challenging design briefs during this interactive session. Our sample challenges included fun rules of engagement, including rearranging the space, free access to resources, etc. Our rigorous design briefs require elements such as a statement of opportunity, user definition, desired attributes, and guiding constraints.
CARRIE ANN POWER: Design Thinking Resources
StudioChat Facilitator, NAEA DIG Member, Art and Design Education Consultant
Essential Question: How might we implement design thinking into K–8 classrooms?
During this hands-on session, we explored ways to implement design thinking inside the classroom, along with essential resources to get started. We focused on easy and introductory strategies to support young learners. Favorite children’s books, professional books, design games, professional resources, and websites were shared. We also dove into South Carolina’s Design Standards definition of a design challenge, proficiency-based standards, and toolkits.
GAYLE DEBRUYN: Virtual Design Charrettes
StudioChat Facilitator, Program Chair of KCAD’s Furniture, Collaborative Design, Master of Art and Design
Essential Question: How might we engage in community co-creation with (un)limited access?
Throughout this workshop, we leveraged virtual learning tools and applied design thinking methods to engage community stakeholders in student projects. We imagined new ideas through our collective experiences and new tools to excite virtual learning. Covering a great deal of territory, we began by learning how the 19th-century two-wheeled French cart was invented. We wrapped up by jumping feetfirst into collaborative design via Google Jamboard and Milanote.
DORIS WELLS-PAPANEK: Timely Learning Assessments
StudioChat Facilitator, NAEA DIG Chair, Director of the Design Learning Network
Essential Question: How might we know when our instruction is making a positive impact on student learning?
During this collaborative session, we explored proven design challenge learning strategies to know when our students are learning—or not. With empathy mapping from multiple perspectives as our focus, we framed intended outcomes, the problem set, essential questions, learning targets, assessment criteria, and evidence of learning. The goal is for students to make their learning visible, track their own progress, and take ownership of their journey.